"The Power of Reputation": A Book Review

By David French
Several years ago, I had the privilege of meeting and working with Chris Komisarjevsky, at that time the CEO of one of the world’s leading PR/public affairs firms, Burson-Marsteller. We were implementing a “reputation initiative” for Ciba, the Swiss multinational with significant operations in the U.S.
Image by krossbow via Flickr
It’s safe and accurate to say that most of what I learned about corporate reputation was at Chris’s virtual knee. One significant learning: reputation can’t be left to chance. Every organization has a reputation—either the one they build and maintain or the one thrust upon them by others. How appropriate, then, that his years of experience and expertise be offered in a compelling reputational road-map for individuals in a book titled The Power of Reputation: Strengthening the Asset That Will Make or Break Your Career.
Here are several nuggets that I found most compelling:
To be successful, people must believe you and believe in you. Talent and ability will only take one so far; real, lasting success in any profession is built on a foundation of character, communication, and trust—the building blocks of reputation.
Your reputation is what opens the door to success, enabling you to forge bonds, get your ideas across, convince, and sell. It’s not only what makes others want to work with and for you—it’s also what encourages them to give you their all. And just as a good corporate reputation protects an organization through many challenges, a positive personal reputation often means the difference between failure and success.
As it is with corporations or organizations, professionals are judged on what they say and how they act. And those who are fundamental to success or failure will observe, listen and ask: Do we trust this person? Will we do what he or she says?
Chris uses many anecdotes offered by successful professionals on how to build respect for and confidence in your decisions, and commitment from others to your goals. He offers an action plan for creating a reputation that engenders trust and builds a foundation for success through:
• Using communication techniques that engage and create positive, open dialogue
• Taking swift, decisive action to deal with challenges and recover from mistakes
• Building strong connections by personalizing your approach
• Reacting quickly in a digital world that demands it
• Earning respect by demonstrating respect for others
• Building trust and a reputation that endures through both good and bad times.
I highly recommend The Power of Reputation for any professional who is—and shouldn’t we all be?—interested in building and maintaining a good reputation. Like any worthy guide, the book offers practical pointers, particularly when one’s mistakes threaten your personal reputation. The book shows us how to be authentic, open to ideas, a strong com­mu­ni­cator, to demonstrate character through actions. It isn’t about “getting your way,” it’s about earning trust—even among those who have different points of view. Come to think of it, in this post-electoral season, The Power of Reputation might be a good read for President Obama and the Congress!
Image courtesy krossbow via Flickr.